QC Research Highlights: Published in 2022

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Welcome to another edition of QC Research Highlights! Many QC Highlights posts in the past have focused on a theme linking the research presented. This post’s theme is centered around recently published 2022 articles. After all, Fall is a great time to catch up. Please enjoy the fascinating work of QC authors.

All the works featured in this series are available to read and download for free from CUNY Academic Works. 

Social Sciences

I would like to start with an article from none other than our president! Frank Wu (QC President) has written extensively on the history of race in the United States, with a particular interest in the status of Asian Americans. In his article, “Asian Americans Challenge the Official Racial Nationalism of the United States,” Wu examines the history of Asian American citizenship. He analyzes both the United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1898) and Korematsu v. United States (1948); in both these cases, the citizenship of individuals born in the United States to Asian immigrant parents was at stake.  Wong Kim Ark claimed his right to citizenship under the Fourteenth Amendment, but the US solicitor general argued against it on racial nationalist grounds. Ultimately, the Supreme Court sided with Wong, and “the category of Chinese American was created.”  The Korematsu case, fifty years later, challenged the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, but the justices refused to rule on the issue of detention. Ultimately, Wu argues that citizenship must be maintained via political participation.

QC faculty are also participating in fruitful cross-disciplinary partnerships. Dana Weinberg (Sociology) and Adam Kapelner (Mathematics) co-authored the article “Do Book Consumers Discriminate against Black, Female, or Young Authors?” Weinberg’s scholarly focus is on writing in the digital age and discrimination in publishing, while Kapelner’s work is on experimental design and machine learning.  Weinberg and Kapelner noted the racial and gender inequalities in the publishing industry. In this article, they test the common assertion that readers discriminate by buying fewer books by Black, female, and young authors, thus making them a worse investment for publishers. For this study, the researchers created fictitious book covers with randomized genres, cover designs, and author names and photos, and had participants rate their level of interest in the books they supposedly represented. Participants in this study did not discriminate against Black or female authors, and in fact showed a preference for Black authors. Thus, the reluctance of publishers to publish books by Black and female authors is not rational. The authors suggest that publishers work to improve the diversity of their published authors.

Math and Natural Sciences

I’d also like to note a new work from a faculty member whose work also has been getting a lot of well-deserved national attention. A previous installment of QC Research Highlights featured the work of John Dennehy (Biology), whose team helped to develop a method of testing wastewater for COVID. Dennehy and the other authors, including many QC students and technicians (credited in the article), have continued this work with a new article, “Tracking Cryptic SARS-CoV-2 Lineages Detected in NYC Wastewater.” The researchers found that the wastewater carried traces of several mutations of COVID that are rarely seen in clinical settings. It may be that patients with these mutations simply were not sampled in a clinical setting, or that these lineages occur only in the gut and aren’t picked up by standard COVID tests. The article also considers whether these mutations may be carried by rats or other NYC mammals, however, the lack of animal DNA in the sample makes that unlikely. In any case, these variants showed some resistance to antibodies.

Arts and Humanities

Xiao Li (Classical, Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures) and Hongyong Liu (University of Macao) co-authored “Dimensional Adjectives in Nuosu Yi.” Li is a linguist who studies semantics and syntax-semantic interfaces. Nuosu Yi is a language spoken by the Yi people, a minority ethnic group in China. This paper focuses on dimensional adjectives, that is, adjectives describing concepts such as size, height, depth, and so on. Li and Liu distinguish between “positive adjectives,” which describe things, and “equative adjectives,” which compare things (“Ayi is tall” vs “Ayi is taller than Aguo.”) A few adjectives in Nuosu Yi form special constructions when they are changed from positive to equative adjectives.  As far as the researchers know, there are only ten of these. This is interesting not only for the study of Nuosu Yi but also for understanding how degree adjectives work across languages.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to all the authors whose work is included here!

This is one of a series of blog posts featuring faculty publications in CUNY Academic Works. Academic Works is a service of the CUNY Libraries dedicated to collecting and providing access to the research, scholarship, and creative and pedagogical work of the City University of New York. In service to CUNY’s mission as a public university, content in Academic Works is freely available to all. 

If you would like to share your research in Academic Works, please see this guide to Academic Works, or contact Nancy.Foasberg@qc.cuny.edu.